Sacred-Texts The Pacific Index Previous Next
The Pō, or ages of darkness—Astronomical Notes—The Months and Days—More Astronomical Notes.
[IN this Chapter a translation of the Sage's remarks on the Pō, the cosmological ages of darkness, during which the family of the Sky-father and Earth-mother dwelt, prior to their exit to the world of light, is given as well as the succeeding Pō of Hades. But the subject is extremely difficult; the ideas of the old Maoris cannot well be translated, for the saw things from a different standpoint to ours. The Pō of Hades appears to represent the everlasting darkness to which (some of) the spirits of mankind are relegated on passing from this world to the next, and which is constantly referred to in song and story when someone has died by saying, 'He has gone to the Pō—to everlasting night.'
The Astronomical part is mostly from Te Matorohanga's teaching. It is obscure in places, and I think it possible that the Scribe occasionally omitted some remark that would have thrown light on these parts that are not clear.]
TE Matorohanga says:—I have already explained about Pō [the ages or æons of cosmological darkness before the birth of the gods]. There are two divisions of these Pō: the first is that during which the offspring of Rangi [the Sky-father] and Papa [the Earth-mother] dwelt in the Pō, and eventually became desirous of breaking forth from the embrace of their parents to the Whai-ao [the World of Being] and the Ao-marama [the World of Light]. That has already been dealt with (see p. 119).
The second series of the Pō commenced when Hine-nui-te-Pō [Great Lady of the night, goddess of Hades] passed through the angi1 to Pou-tere-rangi [the Guard-house of Hades] (see p. 153), and then the second series of Pō became permanent in Rarohenga [Hades]. Hence it is that the Pō has become the 'way of descent' for those of the 'world of being' to Hades; and these Pō are named Te-Pō-tē-kitea p. 162 [the unseen Pō], Te Pō-tē-whaia [non-possessed Pō], Te Pō-tē-wheau [the Pō-that passes not], Te Pō-tangotango [the Pō of utter darkness], and Te Pō-tē-whawha [the Pō that cannot be touched], in Rarohenga. All these Pō were dedicated [or consecrated, or separated off] to Te Ku-watawata (23) [Guardian of the entrance to Hades] to Rarohenga. [It was after this] that mankind ceased to visit Rarohenga in the body, as described in the account of the return of Mataaho and Niwareka2 from there. All of these Pō have been assigned to womankind when they give birth to the 'germ of man' to the world, as has been explained.3 Consequently, if any man claims to commence his pedigree from these Pō, it is wrong—impossible. Secondly, we have seen that there are seventy members of the family born of Rangi and Papa (see p. 118); some of whose offspring gave birth to the 'germ of gods' into this world, and some the 'germ of man,' whilst some others produced rocks, reptiles, etc.
Let me abbreviate this subject by saying, that there was not one of the family of Rangi and Papa that had not offspring in the 'everlasting world.' The division of that family into the Pou-tiri-ao [guardian-spirits] of the conjoint Heavens, eleven in number, with their special spheres of action, even down to Papa-tua-nuku-matua-te-kore [the Parentless Earth-mother] has been explained. Their duties have been made clear, for there is nothing whatever that has not some function to perform: The Pō, the world, each has its [assigned] work to do. The many Pō and the "germ of gods" have been assigned to the 'Family of Pekerau' (29) (see pp. 132, 157); and the world has been assigned to the 'germ of man' [i.e, the Heavens; the Space is the domain of the gods, whilst the Earth is that of mankind].
Te Matorohanga says:—Tāne appointed some of his elder brethren to be stationed both on the back and on the front of their common parent [the Sky-father], thus:—
Uru-te-ngangana (1) Roiho (2) Roake (3)
These were the occupiers of Pou-tiri-ao, the house that held the kaupeka [months] of the year [i.e., those gods ruled over and arranged the phenomena of time]. It was hence the 'Tatai-aro-rangi ' [i.e., p. 163 science of astromony and time] was possible, to guide the 'Whanau-Puhi-ariki' [sun, moon, and stars family]; that is, what the white-men call an almanac; such is the 'Tatai-aro-rangi,' the arrangement of the sun, moon, and stars [in their proper seasons, courses, etc.].
Some of the family of Rangi and Papa are [always] moving about in the Planes of the Eleven Heavens, arranging and directing the 'Tatai-aro-rangi' of the Ao-rangi-puaroa [the visible Heavens]. And it is in consequence of this that the sun, moon, and their younger brethren the stars [that denote the seasons] of the year move correctly; together with the whetu-punga4 that lie in the Ika-o-te-rangi [the Fish-of-Heaven, or the Backbone-of-Heaven] in the 'Great-ridge-of-Heaven' [both names for the Milky Way].
Tāne also appointed Raka-maomao (13), Kaukau (22) and Haepuru (4) to confine [or guard] the bounds of Ranginui-a-tamaku [the Heaven above us], as a place in which the various gods of the Heavens might move about, and where could be obtained the plumes used by the Whatu-kuras, Marei-kuras, Ruaos, and other Apas [different classes of gods]. It was from the following birds the plumes were obtained:—
Hakuai, Tapu-turangi, Koreke-rangi, Takahi-kare,
Kaukau-rangi, Kura-a-rangi, and Rakorakoa (or Amokura).
All these birds were very tapu; it was their tail-feathers that were used as plumes for the gods mentioned above. There are three other birds not included in the above; they were brought down from Heaven by Tawhaki in order to produce plumes for his wife Maikuku-makaka; they were, the Kotuku [crane], the Huia, and the Koekoeā [long-tailed-cuckoo].5
The work assigned to these sacred birds was to announce to each marae [court] or dwelling-place on earth, the first month of the year, Orongo-nui of the Ngahuru-tu-hoehoe [both names for summer].
It is clear from what has been said that Te Iho-rangi (10) had been p. 164 appointed as the Pou-tiri-ao [guardian-spirit] for the Planes of the Sky-father and Earth-mother, together with his friends, to guard the clouds—clothing of their father. Whilst he was there, he placed his grandchildren [Pāra, Ngoiro, Tuna, and Tuere—see p. 155] in the [Heavenly] river named Waihau [? the river in the constellation Eridanus].
It must be understood that the 'glowing sun' and his younger brethren had been arranged in due order on their ancestor the Sky-father. In consequence of the heat of the sun the waters of the Planes became putrid, and in consequence thereof Matuku-whakapu [a crane] was able to peck Pāra [the barracuta fish] and his brethren, through the shallowness of the water. This became the cause why Pāra and others came down to Earth to dwell.
[The Sage adds the following to illustrate the above, though it really belongs to the story of Tawhaki—the Greek Peleus]. They met Tawhaki and his brother Karihi when they went to Ahurangi [the name of the way by which Tawhaki ascended] by the Ara-tukutuku [the spider's way] where Karihi was killed and Tawhaki ascended up to the brow at Tahu-rangi [some place in the Heavens], and there met Pāra and his brethren on their way down to Earth. Tawhaki asked them, "Why are you leaving the upper regions?" Pāra replied, "All the waters have become quite shallow and are putrid; and consequently Matuku-whakapu [the crane] was able to peck us. We are going down to Earth. How is it down there?" Tawhaki said, "You can go now, it is all right down below." Tawhaki then went on until he reached the Pae-angiangi [the summit where he rested to take breath], where he met Matuku-whakapu [the crane] and Pakura [the water-hen, Porphyrio melanotis], of whom Tawhaki asked, "Where are you two going?" "We are going down below, to seek a cool place; we are about killed up here by Tama-nui-te-ra [the sun]; there is no water left." Tawhaki looked at Pakura and said, "Thy forehead has been skinned; the blood is flowing."6 Matuku here interposed, "It is nothing; it is merely the result of a quarrel with Tama-i-waho, because Pakura ate the unio shell-fish in the former's spring, and so Tama-i-waho stripped the skin off Pakura's forehead." And then Tawhaki ascended up to the dwelling of his ancestress Whaitiri. . . . . . .
[The reader must not set this episode down as a childish fable. It is an important myth, the meaning of which the translator hopes to find time to explain some time.]
Now, the family of Rangi and Papa [the gods] from the time they went forth from the embrace of their parents, down to the period of the Pae-rangi war (see p. 134), and to the time of the appointment of Pou-tiri-ao [the guardian-spirits], were all dwelling within a kind of twilight. The reason of this was, there was no sun, no moon, no stars, no clouds. [Here one of the listeners to the Sage's teaching, named Pere, asked, "O Moi! Whence then were the clouds on which Tāne, Ruatau, Rehua and others descended?" The Sage replied, "They were from Tiritiri-o-matangi [next Heaven below the summit]; those were the first [used] to take them down to Rangi-naonao-ariki [the third Heaven from above]. Those clouds were returned by the Apa-rangi, and then they continued their descent on the clouds of Rangi-naonao-ariki to Rangi-te-wiwini, and so on down to Rangi-tamaku and Papa [the Earth]. When Tāne propped up the Heavens these clouds remained up above."]
In consequence of this want of light Tāne ordered that the Whanau-ariki, or Whanau-puhi [the sun, moon and stars] should be brought from their dwelling on Maunga-nui [mountain], where they had been stationed by Tāne and his elder brethren at Rangi-tukia. The residence of that family there was not at all pleasant, for they could only see very indistinctly, and their eyes constantly watered. So it was thought better to convey them to the belly of their father, Rangi-nui, and there affix them so that the Earth might be lit up. Then Kewa (9) asked of Tāne-matua (68), "Who, above on Maunga-nui, is in charge of that family?" Tāne replied, "They are with Whiro-taringa-waru, Tongatonga (42), Tawhiri-rangi (15), and Ikaroa (12) suspended within the house at Rangi-tukia."
When Kewa (9) arrived at [the base of] Maunga-nui he said unto Tongatonga, "The family of gods have finally decided that the family in your charge here are to be taken and affixed to the front of their ancestor, and there remain to adorn the front of Rangi-nui-a-tamaku [the Sky-father]." To this the guardians of that family consented; they were also the feeders of that family.
Then Tongatonga (42) and Kewa (9) ascended Maunga-nui, and looking down from there they saw the family amusing themselves on the sands at Te Rehu-roa. They were called to come up to [the summit of] Maunga-nui. Their mode of progression was by rolling over and over up the mountain; the reason for which was that they were shaped like an eye, they had no bodies. When they reached the court-yard [named] Takapau-rangi, they disappeared into their house, Rangi-tukia; and then Taringa-waru, Tawhiri-rangi, Te Ikaroa, and p. 166 Tongatonga took four 'baskets' in which to place the 'family.' These 'baskets' were named:—
|1.||Te Rauru-rangi, the 'basket' of the Sun.|
|2.||Te Kauhanga, the 'basket' of the Moon.|
|3.||(Not given.) The 'basket' in which Autahi [? Aldebaran] and his younger brethren were placed; they are as below.|
|4.||Rauroha,7 the 'basket' of the smaller stars and of the Whanau-punga. (See note 4.)|
|1.||Autahi (? Aldebaran)||7.||Whanui (Vega)|
|3.||Kopu (Venus, evening)||9.||Whakaahu (Gemenii)|
|5.||Matariki (the Pleiades)||11.||Tawera (Venus, morning)|
|6.||Tautoru (Orion)||12.||Te Ikaroa (Milky Way)8|
Those are all of them. It is said that Puaroa is the same as Rere-ahiahi [another name for Venus, but it might also refer to any other of the brighter planets that set in the evening], for it appears at the same time, and when it reaches the path of the Ruddy-Sun, the moon appears, and then Puaroa is called Kopu. When it appears at the time daylight opens up it gets its third name, Tawera. It is, however, the one same star. This is the star to whom was given the management or direction of the months of the year9 [To illustrate this10] it was correct of Ruatapu to say to Paikea at the incident known as 'Te Whiri-pure-i-ata,' "Go in peace, and when you arrive ashore tell the people that Wehi-nui-a-mamao11 will indicate the season. Let them look to the white throat feathers of the Tūi bird, the offspring of Para-uri (47) in the twelfth month in the long nights of winter, then shall I be there." To cut short the story, the above relates to the 'Flood of Ruatapu,' when many men died on Earth, whilst those who p. 167 believed in the prediction saved themselves by fleeing to the summit of Hikurangi mountain; the unbelievers all perished.
Now the smaller stars [in the fourth 'basket'] were placed in the canoe named 'Uruao,' which is to be seen as a pattern in the sky, so they might be guarded, lest they be maltreated by their elder brethren, and fall down below. Tama-rere-ti was appointed their guardian.12
After this the family of stars, etc., were conveyed to the presence of their ancestor Rangi-nui [the Sky-father], and were then arranged so that they might light up their ancestor's front surface, and to give light also to the Earth-mother. Te Ikaroa (12) [one of the gods, but ? does it not mean here the Milky Way, for which it is one of the names], Rongo-mai-taha-rangi (62) and Rongo-mai-taha-nui (54) were sent to lay down the ara-matua,13 and the kaupeka [months], as the path along which the family of stars might traveI [correctly] lest they collided with one another. Te Ikaroa [the Milky Way] was appointed to the Zodiac, as guardians of the minor stars and those of the Whanau-punga (see note 4). The second name of Te Ikaroa-o-te-rangi [the-main-ridge-of-the-Heavens] was there given [to the Milky Way]; and Rongo-mai-taha-rangi (62) was placed on the right hand side of the Milky Way to guard the Ruddy-sun, whilst Rongo-mai-taha-nui (54) was stationed on the left hand to guard Autahi [Aldebaran] and his younger brethren (see p. 166). The Waxing Moon was placed behind the Sun and the Stars.
Now, the family of the Earth-mother considered this arrangement, and saw that it was not a good one, because the Waxing Moon was in the dark, as were the other minor Stars. So they separated the elder brother [the Sun] and placed him on the head of Rangi [the Sky-father], and the moon and stars on his belly. They then carefully examined14 [this second arrangement], and saw that it was not satisfactory either, and the reason was, that there was only one phase—there was nothing but continuous daylight; for all the 'family' of stars were in one heap. And then they changed it so that the elder p. 168 brother, the Ruddy-Sun, was stationed on the back of the Sky-father, and the Waxing Moon and the Stars on his belly, there to remain fixed. Again the family of the Earth-mother examined the arrangement, with the Sun on the navel (pito) [the Ecliptic]15 of the Sky-father, and the Moon and the Stars on his back, so that the sun might climb up by the thighs of the Sky-father, and the Moon and Stars follow him; and thus was the Sun separated from his younger brethren.
And now, for the first time, was seen night and day; and this [arrangement] was named the Ao-mamara [the world-of-light] in which the Sun travelled [across the sky], also, the Ao-marama-nui [the great-world-of-light] and the Ao-marama-roa [the enduring-world-of-light.] The reason of this was, there was no night or darkness during the period that the Moon and Stars ruled the night, and this was called the Po-nui [the great-night], the Po-roa [the enduring-night], and the Po-tamaku [the night-smothered-off]. But suffice it to say, that the third arrangement gave rise to the separation of the darkness from the daylight, and they were called night and day. The day was called 'the world-of-light.'
But enough of this explanation; it is an extremely lengthy subject were I to expatiate on it, that is, about each star and its functions. The Ruddy-Sun at the beginning of the year proceeds by the Marua-roa [the winter solstice] to the head of his ancestor [the Sky-father], and when he reaches his 'shoulders' he returns to the hiku mutu of his ancestor. The hiku mutu is the Maru-roa-o-te-Takurua [the winter solstice], and the Marua-roa at the 'shoulder' is the Marua-roa-o-te-Orongonui, or summer [solstice]: the hiku mutu is the winter.16
[Te Matorohanga, in another part of his teaching, discourses on the days of the months as follows:—]
Here end the propitious nights. Sometimes Matohi contends he should be the 19th night.
|22nd||"||"||"|| Korekore-tutoru (or|
|29th||"||"||"||Mauri (or Maurea)|
Now, let this be clear: Matohi [one of the Stars] occasionally disputes with Tangaroa-whakapau [a day that appears to be intercalated after the 25th] between themselves [as to which should enter p. 170 the Calendar]; sometimes one, sometimes the other enters.18 If Tangaroa-whakapau enters, then fish both of the sea and inland are plentiful. If Matohi enters into the enumeration, Tangaroa-whakapau is omitted, and the neap tide takes place, the fish direct their courses to the sea; it is the same inland, the fish retire to Lady-morass, to Lady-swamp; and only when Te Iho-rangi (10) drives them out do they return to the rivers. It is the same at sea, the Tamateas drive ashore the retoreto-moana19; that is, the wind does so. And, hence is this period [i.e., from 23rd to 25th] called Tamatea-kai-ariki [Tamatea-chief-eater, because the bad weather at that time often capsizes the canoes and chiefs are drowned]. Tamatea-ngana [the obstinate Tamatea], Tamatea-whakapau [Tamatea the consumer] and Tamatea-aio [the calm Tamatea]—these are all the Tamateas—they are the bad days in the calendar of the month, no canoe-bow will be directed outside for fear of Rua-matua-tonga,20 Para-wera-nui, Tonga-huru-huru, Tonga-taupuru, and Te Apu-tahi-a-Pawa [southerly gales].
The following is the tautiti [recitation in orderly sequence] of the Apu-tahi-a-Pawa21:—
|1st—The matahi, or first of the year||. .||May|
|2nd—Pipiri (Winter)||. .||. .||June and July|
|3rd—Marua-roa (Winter Solstice)||. .||August|
|4th—Te Toru||. .||. .||. .||September|
|5th—Te Wha||. .||. .||. .||October|
|6th—Te Rima||. .||. .||. .||November|
|7th—Te Ono||. .||. .||. .||December|
|8th—Te Whitu||. .||. .||. .||January|
|9th—Te Waro||There are fifteen days out of|
January taken into
|10th—Te Iwa||. .||. .||. .||March and April; this period|
is called Te Ngahuru-kai-
|11th and 12th—These||two are called Te Ngahuru-tu-hoahoa [the two|
friendly Nga-huru, the latter word meaning Autumn],
but the great name is Pou-tu-te-rangi. Here ends the
Autumn, which is lost, or disappears into May, when
young plants are caused by it to shoot.
[The above is the second method of counting the months by numbers, for all the names after Marua-roa express the ordinary numbers. There is an apparent confusion in the Scribe's marginal numbers for they do not agree with the same expressed in writing; it would be apparently more correct if Marua-roa [the winter solstice] were opposite June and July. June is usually said to be the commencement of the year, denoted by the rising of Matariki, or the Pleiades.]
[Nepia Pohuhu has the following on astronomical subjects:—] Now if the flight of the Sun, Moon, and all their younger brethren, the Stars, is directed towards the head of Rangi-nui [the Sky-father], that is the Waru-tu-hoehoe [mid-summer], if they come towards the legs of Rangi-nui, that is the Takurua-Waipu [mid-winter]. The pito [Ecliptic] is the boundary on their parent, their ancestor; and that is the demarkation between winter and summer. Now the head of Rangi is to the north, and his legs to the south, towards Para-wera-nui [the fierce south wind], and, hence are the 'southers' so bad.22
Some people say that the Sun and Moon disputed; the Sun said they should both go together in the daylight, whilst the Moon said they ought to operate at night. They were both obstinate, till at last the Sun said, "Enough! You travel by night so that you may be a light to mankind to make their earth-ovens." The Moon replied, "A! Go you by daylight so that you may dry women's menstruous cloths." But this story is wrong, it is a mere fable. The correct story is that of Tuatara and the shark [for which see p. 156].
[Nepia Pohuhu says further:—] This is another word of mine, about which all must be clear; in reference to the whatu [? the eye] of the Whanau-puhi that have been mentioned; that is, Tama-nui-te-ra [the Sun] and Te Marama-i-whanake [the waxing Moon], and their younger brethren the Stars. Rona,23 Te Ahurangi, and Te Rangi-taupiri are their Pou-tiri-ao [guardian spirits]. It is they who regulate the Moon. Tāne-matua (68) said, "Let the Moon regulate the p. 172 high and low tides of Lady-ocean." Tupai added, "And the Tuahiwi-o-Hine-moana [the Ridge-of-Lady-ocean] shall regulate the great waves, in order that the descent may be easy on both sides."24 Tupai then advised Tāne to appoint some Stars to arrange [or guide] the Tuahiwi-o-Hine-moana, and assist the Moon—this was done.
This, also, must be clearly understood: Everything is a part [wahi] of the Heavens and the Earth; there is nothing of which it can be said, it is of the Earth alone or of Heaven alone; all things have been placed, each in its own position and after its own kind by them and their offspring [the gods], and, hence it is [we say] all things eminate from them—the Stars, the Moon, the Sun—all of those are part [wahi] of the Earth and Heaven. It is the same in all the Eleven Heavens, just as has been said above; they have their Stars, Moon, and Sun. Each Star, each Moon, each Sun in the Eleven Heavens has its own Pou-tiri-ao [guardian spirit]. Everything is a world—a part of the Earth and Heaven as explained. Water is the cause of growth of all things; if there were no water, or the sea, everything would go wrong in the Heavens, the Stars, Moon and the Sun. The coadjutor of the water is the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. The clouds are the mist, the breath, the warmth of Earth; for everything has heat and cold according to its kind. Tama-nui-te-ra [the Sun] and Tawhiri-matea (7) [god of winds] send down the clouds and mists in the form of rain to refresh all things according to their kind—everything drinks water; there is water in all Stars, the Moon and the Sun. . . . . .
[The Sage then goes on to describe the 'nature of things' generally, which is a repetition of what has been given in Chapter III. He then proceeds:—]
Now, in consequence of Io having so decreed, together with the Whatu-kuras, in the world and the Pō [Hades] as to the arrangement of the functions of all things, the company of Apas became the instruments, the guardians, the directors of all things in all the Heavens and the Planes; they became the overseers of the duties of all things in the Moons, Suns, and Stars of each Heaven forming the twelve Heavens, each one of which has its own Moon and Stars.25
But the Sun is outside of everything. He is the kai-pēhi [the suppressor] of all things beneath the sun; each of them have their worlds, their moons and their stars.26 The head [rulers] of all things, Stars, Moons and Suns, are the Whatukuras of the Toi-o-nga-rangi-tuhaha [the Summit-of-the-conjoint-Heavens], because the Apas are only labourers of the Heavens, whilst the Pou-tiri-ao guard them lest they deviate from their proper work, or quarrel.
1. Angi is the space between Heaven and Earth, and also between Earth and Hades.
2. See Chapter VI. as to this visit to Hades.
3. This is explained by the Scribe as follows, but it is not clear: If a child is born between the first and seventh day after labour commences, it will be well for both mother and child. But if not born between the seventh and twelfth day, the mother and child will surely die.
4. Whetu-punga are 'the smaller stars sheltering under the Milky Way—those stars barely visible to the eye. They are constantly falling off the Milky Way, and are then seen as Meteors'—says the Scribe.
5. The Hakuai is said to be a very large and fierce bird that is never seen but very high up in the heavens. The stories connected with it seem to indicate that it is a dimly remembered tradition of the Eagle, which the ancestors of the Maoris knew in some former habitat. The Amokura is the Tropic bird, which occasionally visits the North Cape of New Zealand, and the red tail feathers of which were highly valued. The others are not known—probably they were birds that dwelt in the original home of the Maoris. Tawhaki's three birds are inhabitants of New Zealand, and their tail feathers were much prized.
6. The Pakura has a scarlet patch over each eye, and the above is how the Maoris account for it—Matuku was supposed to have done it.
7. The Kete-rauroha means the 'basket of wide space,' no doubt referring to the stars scattered over the heavenly vault.
8. It will be noticed these stars are twelve in number, as are the Heavens, and the months.
9. This is the first time I ever came across a statement in Polynesian traditions that Venus ruled the year. The Pleiades are universally said to do so. But, we may have here possibly the faint recollection of another ancient cult, for J. F. Hewitt in his "Primitive Traditional History," Vol. I., p. 132, says that Alberune quotes Venus as having been worshipped at the beginning of the Pleiades year.
10. The following illustration does not belong to the "Celestial Plane," but to the period just before the fleet left Tahiti for New Zealand in about A.D. 1350
11. Wehi-nui-a-maomao is said to preside over one of the months—probably the twelfth. It is also said that Titi-raupenga mountain in New Zealand was owned by this god, or spirit.
12. 'Te Waka-o-Tama-rere-ti'—the canoe of Tama-rere-ti—is the constellation Scorpio. It is said that the first canoe made by the Maori people in the Fatherland was copied from this (hence the word 'pattern' in the text). The canoe's name is 'Uruao,' and sometimes the smaller stars fall overboard, and then appear to us as mata-kokiri, or meteors.
13. The Ara-matua is the 'main-way'—the Ecliptic—or in other words the course of the heavenly bodies in the Zodiac. The Kaupeka are the twelve months, equivalent to the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
14. Whakaatatia. 'Men, gods, birds and reptiles, all looked up to the Heavens, and were dissatisfied with the arrangement'—says the Scribe.
15. The use of the word pito (navel) throws a light on its meaning as connected with the Sun's path, or Ecliptic, when considered in connection with the Hawaiian expression Piko-o-wakea, which Hawaiian scholars translate as 'the Equator,' but which we may now believe to be the Ecliptic of the Heavens rather than the Terrestrial Equator. In the Hawaiian name, piko is the Maori pito (for the Hawaiians have substituted the 'k' for the 't' in every word of their language—a comparatively speaking modern innovation, dating from about the commencement of the nineteenth century), and Wakea is in Maori Watea, or Atea, and this latter word is equivalent to Rangi, the Sky, in some of the Eastem Polynesian languages, meaning light, and day, as does rangi in Maori. It is, therefore, apparent that te pito o Rangi is the Celestial Equator, or more properly the Ecliptic, which is also expressed by 'the Ara-matua,' or 'main way,' the part of the Heavens in which the principal Stars, Sun, and Moon pursue their annual courses.
16. It seems from this that the Maori astronomy originated in the Southern Hemisphere. The "beginning of the year" is the month of June—winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Possibly the old priests had to change their nomenclature after they left the Fatherland, which, there is little doubt, was north of the Equator.
17. The Sage here says this is the Leap Year of the White people, a remark probably added by the Scribe.
18. The Scribe endeavoured to explain his ideas on this subject, but with not much success. Matohi, a star, enters and disputes with the day called Tangaroa and, if successful, no fish are caught, for the latter bring the fish. (Tangaroa is a god of the ocean, fish, and all oceanic phenomena). Matohi is never seen by man except during the days called Tangaroa (23rd to 25th of the month); it is bluish in colour, and from his description of its position in the Heavens it is probably near Alpha Taurus. It appears to me that we have here an attempt to intercalate certain days to correct the Lunar year.
19. A small, round-leafed sea-weed.
20. The home of the winds.
21. Pawa, short for Aitu-pawa, who is one of the guardians of the Heavenly treasure house, and was ruler over the Pou-tiri-ao, or guardian-spirts, whose function it was to attend to the sequence of the months of the year.
22. In this the old Priest is a little wrong, in as much as be includes the Stars in the change of declination common to the Sun and Moon.
23. Rona is the woman in the moon, about whom are several stories.
24. As, already explained, the above 'Ridge' is supposed to exist in the Pacific Ocean, between New Zealand and Tahiti, where stormy weather and big waves are encountered—probably the point in from lat. 23 to lat. 25, where the Trade winds meet the prevailing westerly winds. The Scribe tells me that the tides are supposed to flow up to each side of this 'Ridge,' and then recede, thus making flood and ebb tide in opposite directions. The real belief of the old Tohungas is difficult to get at; and it seems probable that the Celestial Tuahiwi, or 'ridge' [the Milky Way] had something to do with this change in the direction of the flow of the tides; or, what is just as likely, the people in one of their former habitats, as in Indonesia, had observed that the tides, at some well-known point, made in different directions. This is a point that is worth looking up, but no work is available here. The Scribe adds: Some Tohungas held that Matariki (the Pleiades) ruled the tides, when that constellation is 'above' the Tuahiwi, or 'Ridge' (? 'Celestial Ridge'), then it rules rather than the Moon. Such was the teaching of Te-Waka-Kawatini—a well-known Tohunga—in 1876. The Pleiades are 'above' the 'Celestial Ridge' (Milky Way), of course, soon after the former rises.
25. These last two words do not follow the original exactly, but the Scribe tells me they correctly describe the teaching of the Sages. When asked whether it was not the same Sun, etc., that we see illuminates all the Heavens, he said, "No! Each Heaven has it own Sun, Moon, and Stars."
26. This is obscure, but is just as the Sage says.